Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Eating Cool in the Heat

 Once summer gets here in full force, I know we all try to stay cool any way we can.  No one wants to bake and even cooking at the stove can get hot!  I no longer have a grill - but I can put the old George Foreman outside if need be!  I don't mind cooking in the summer, but I prefer lighter meals.  No heavy foods that feel like cement blocks in your belly - especially if you need to do outdoor work!

A few ideas for lighter eating and cooking seem to be in order.  I know I often need lots of reminders.  We all get stuck and bored after a while.  We really do have lots of options!!

Let's see...........
Potato salad, pasta salad, coleslaw, chef salads, side salads
Veggie salads of all types - broccoli salad, cauliflower salad, pea salad, bean salad, corn salad, zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, radish, carrots, lettuce, cabbage, pea pods,  geesh any veggie you can think of can become a salad when mixed with other things.  Throw in a little of your favorite dressing, maybe some bacon bits or seeds or maybe cubes of cheese - and boom you have salad for meal!
Sandwiches.  PBJ, subs, cold cuts, ham, turkey, roast beef, tuna salad, chicken salad, egg salad, ham salad, etc.  De-seed a tomato or a bell pepper and stuff with any of the salads above.  I love tuna salad stuffed tomatoes!!!
I love a tomato and onion or tomato and cucumber sandwich on toast in the summer!!! One of my favorites!
Use tortillas and make all kinds of roll-ups.  

Pita bread or bagels are great.  Homemade flat bread.
Take a bagel and add some cream cheese and top with an abundance of sliced fresh veggies - oh yum!
Grilled cheese - jazz them up.  Nobody says they have to be plain old cheese and bread!  Use various cheeses add meat or tomato slices.  Use different kinds of bread.  You can even use leftover mac n cheese - on bread and fry up a sandwich - carbs overload SURE - but it is good!!!! (ask me how I know!)

Fruit - eat fruit plain or mix any variety you have together for fruit salads.  Make a fruit pizza.  Have fruit on yogurt or over a bowl of cereal or over oatmeal or over ice cream.  Grilled fruit.  Frozen fruit.  Granted, not all of those are meals - but hey us adults need dessert too!!!!!

Make a charcuterie board - crackers or breads, cheeses, sliced meats and sliced veggies of any sort.  I do this often in the summer.  I always have summer sausage on hand and lots of cheese and of course all kinds of veggies.  I can eat with crackers, with tortillas, pita, or just alone.  This is a lovely meal for me.

Grill veggies and fruits on the grill.  Slices of zucchini, onion, potato, corn on the cob, pineapple, peaches, etc. can all be fixed on the grill and may I say - they are wonderful!!!!!!
There are many cold soups that can be made - and they are delish!
Hard boiled eggs or deviled eggs are nice to have on hand and a great protein.
Smoothies can take the place of a meal.  Add protein powder, your greens and fruits and yum!
Make up a bunch of baked potatoes on a cooler day (or use your crockpot) - and have baked potato night now and then.

Make sure you always have ice on hand for cold drinks.  I like to keep a jug of water in the frig so it is always cold.  I fill several smaller bottles that I use for individual portions as well.  Iced tea or Kool-Aid is good.  Lemonade is another summer favorite.
                            Fancy up your ice with herbs or fruit - or even flowers.  How fun is that?

I know, I know.  Many guys need meat and potatoes and a hearty meal.  Yeah, at least they think they do!  LOL  I can have a hearty and very filling meal without all the normal heavy foods.
If you have to fix heartier and heavier meals - use the crockpot, the Insta Pot, or an air fryer.  
Use the grill when you can.

Just make yourself a list of all the cooler and lighter foods that you and your family like - have ingredients on hand.  Most of what I mentioned above are just basic food supplies, fixed in different ways!
Get creative and have fun with your food this summer.
Beat the heat and stay healthy and cool and use what you have around the house and garden. 
 
Be the COOL kid this summer!

39 comments:

  1. Debby in Kansas USAJune 8, 2022 at 9:22 AM

    This is the time of year that we really love the rotisserie chicken at Sam's. My fave meal is the simplest. I shared the chicken into a corn tortilla and add a couple of spoonfuls of fresh Aldi salsa. Some cut up jicama on the side and it's the perfect summer fiesta meal! Ole lol!

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    1. MMmmm that sounds good. I like about anything in a tortilla and I love me some jicama. Many people have not heard of it. I live it sliced and salted and in a salad as well.

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  2. Debby in Kansas USAJune 8, 2022 at 9:31 AM

    ::: looking for gremlins:::. We also use the crockpot a couple of days per week all summer. It's nice to have a warm meal once in awhile, hubs loves it, and it's hands off and cooler. Pork loin, chicken, whatever. Good shredding for heartier sandwiches. Also makes the BEST baked beans.

    We had a delicious Chinese chicken salad last night from frozen rotisserie chicken. This was our old UCLA tailgate meal! The guys next to us also loved it and they would trade us for BBQ ribs. Couldn't beat that meal combo!

    More heavy rain this morning. I hope my plants are getting enough oxygen!

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    1. Crockpots make such tasty and easy meals. I like meats made in them, they DO shred so nicely.
      How fun - that sounds like a yummy meal and a fun evening.

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  3. This time of year, I always have fruit salad in the fridge. It's amazing how many times the kids come home or hubs comes in after working outside and fill bowls with fruit salad. I also love my crock pot and use it for meals at least 3 days a week. No turning on the oven unless really need to.

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    1. I truly like fruit salad - what a nice treat to get in the afternoon!
      Crockpots are the bomb! So many choices for tasty food.

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  4. I had some quinoa leftover from another recipe, so I diced up whatever produce was in the fridge and even crumbled some dehydrated veggies in it. Then I dressed it with some herbs and fresh lemon juice, salt & pepper. Boy was it delish! Just as good as the fancy side salads at a local sandwich shop.

    The quinoa was from I box I got for 49 cents and all the veggies & lemon were clearance items.

    Even though I made that one up I have a stack of cooking magazines by my chair waiting for me. I'm looking for more ideas for salads and cool, summer meals.

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    1. ^that was me
      ~margaret

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    2. I love it. Smart thinking and using what you have. I have tons of cookbooks - but I bet 99% of what I make is just made on the fly!! I mean, all recipes were something someone made up at one time.

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  5. My go to is a fruit plate with a scoop of cottage cheese. I'll add raisin toast, if I have it, or banana bread or crackers, whatever I have on hand.

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    1. I don't do cottage cheese - but that sure would have been a go to for hubs. He loved cottage cheese. It is so neat to see all the easy and fav's people have.

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    2. Debby in Kansas USAJune 8, 2022 at 12:56 PM

      Ooh, adding the raisin toast makes that good meal into grrrrrreat!

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  6. Thank you, Cheryl. I love salad season! So many ways to throw together a cool, delicious meal. When they were teens and college age, my sons loved the tortellini salads I'd make for dinner during summer heat. BLTT (bacon, lettuce and tortellini with diced tomato) tossed in a light vinaigrette was their favorite, but they also loved cold chicken and tortellini salad with peas over baby greens. Hubby isn't a big salad fan, but he loves a taco salad. --Elise

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    1. I can understand loving the BLT salad - num! The chicken one sounds yum too. Salads are so good and there is such variety.
      I am making taco salad today!

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  7. EM...we just love a BLT sandwich in the summer when our tomatoes are bearing. Plus, many salads from our fresh veggies. Our lettuce tastes so different from supermarket variety. I like to use my crockpot year round. If it's pretty hot, I have a screened in porch and put it out there. We eat lots of fresh fruits in the summer also. Just plain ole watermelon or cantaloupe. My strawberries are just winding down . We will certainly miss those. Guilty of too much ice cream also...but a girls gotta do what she's gotta do...lol!

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    1. I do believe a BLT sandwich is my favorite sandwich. Yes, home grown lettuce (well all veggies) taste so different from store bought.
      A good watermelon or cantaloupe is so refreshing. I still have some strawberries I need to eat - thanks for the reminder!

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    2. Linda, BLT sandwiches with homegrown or Farmer's Market tomatoes are a favorite summer treat! Now I'm hungry for one. LOL! --Elise

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  8. I really appreciate your great tips for making summer meals without a lot of cooking and effort! You also brought me back many decades to the jello salads Mom and Grandma used to make! Thanks for the little reminder, I look forward to making those as well!

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    1. LOL - funny you mentioned that! I actually thought of listing Jello salads. I really like Jello and fruit a lot.
      I am glad you got a sweet memory and some ideas!

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  9. I am making a large shrimp salad tonight for a funeral and some to keep at home!

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    1. Oh yum, that sounds wonderful. I totally forgot about shrimp and crab - like them both!

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  10. Now that we have an air fryer we hardly ever turn on the oven. I like to have a cut watermelon ready to eat for most of the summer. It cools me ff better than anything else.

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    1. I didn't think I would like an air fryer - but I do. I need to use it more. I just don't have room to leave it out.
      Watermelon is refreshing. They are still pretty costly here - until later in season.

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  11. Thanks Cheryl for summer meal suggestions - I love using an air fryer, quick, doesn't warm up the kitchen.
    Joy

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    1. You are very welcome. Those little appliances can be handy!

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  12. I try and make as many main dish salads as I can, and boy are there a great many. Lots which have meat in them which makes Harvey very happy. We also use the grill or smoker as much as possible. If I want to roast something I have an electric roaster that I put outside to cook with.

    God bless.

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    1. Those all inclusive salads are so tasty. I love chef salads with meat and egg and cheese.
      Nice to have a grill and smoker! I bet that smoker makes things good.

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  13. Watermelon in the refrigerator is a summer must! We just finished a honeydew and it wasn't too bad. I am fixing kale and mustard greens from the garden tomorrow. Also roasting beets from the garden. I know this wouldn't be a good idea on a super hot and muggy day but tomorrow should be pretty nice. We have an eggplant close to being ready and lots of green tomatoes, baby cukes and a zucchini just about ready.

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    1. Goodness girl, you are way ahead of me with that garden. That is fantastic you are getting so much already. You will be swimming in fresh produce in no time!

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  14. Lots of good ideas for lunches and dinners, which is so helpful because it is so HOT here. I mean really HOT. We are going through a serious heat wave and it's only early June. Who wants to cook in this heat? Tomorrow it is ham and cheese on croissants with chips and dip. And I'll definitely be using some of your ideas in the coming days.

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    1. Well, I am glad my timing was good! I hate extreme heat. You must be out southwest - I hear it was crazy hot in some places.
      Next week it is predicted mid 90's a couple days here - that I do NOT like!
      Your meal for today sounds wonderful. I hope you stay safe and as cool as possible.

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  15. Great ideas. I made a list a couple days ago of easy summer meals that won’t heat up the kitchen so much. Thanks for some more ideas!

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    1. Timing!!! Glad it will help expand your list a little.

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  16. You all inspired my dinner last night! I'd eaten everything I'd prepared for the week but I did have 2 cups of pasta still. So I made a pasta salad. I diced up every vegetable I had plus some pickles and olives. Since I don't use processed oils I get creative with dressings and I used some pickle juice, balsamic vinegar, water, spicy brown mustard, sugar & little salt, fresh oregano and basil and parsley & dill. Mixed that up and poured it on and it was delicious. Can't wait to have more for lunch. That 2 cups of pasta turned into 6 cups of pasta salad. Yeah I used a lot of vegetables!
    ~~margaret

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    1. Margaret I am sure I speak for all these fine ladies - glad to be of service!!! It sounds absolutely delightful. It is truly amazing how much a bit of this and that can produce. Thanks for letting everyone know!

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  17. Have you thought about make a cheap solar over with cardboard and aluminum foil?

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  18. My menu for the upcoming hot week includes Instant Pot (or Crockpot) Baked Potatoes with Air Fryer or Grilled Chicken; AF Chicken Fajitas w IP rice; Sausage patties with AF Biscuits; AF freezer clean out (too many processed foods lingering in there); AF or Grilled Fish w AF fries and cole slaw; Chef Salads. I try to not use my oven at all when it's over 90 degrees.

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